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5:07pm on Thursday, 19th February, 2009:

Wooden People


Avid QBlog readers will have noticed that there was no update yesterday. There's a blog entry, but you only get to see it today; that's because at the time I was intending to upload it, it was in the boot of my car and I was staying at The Priory:

No, I wasn't suffering from alcohol dependency, drug dependency or waning publicity, it was a different The Priory (they should just call these places A Priory and stop making out they're unique). This one was a hotel in Caerleon, South Wales. For those of you who don't know, that's where the campus is for the University of Wales, Newport is. I was there giving a talk to the computer game design people. In common with every other Computer Games degree scheme in the country, they had many more students than we have on ours at Essex, and judging by some of the awkward questions they asked me they've been well taught, too. Some of the members of staff had even more awkward ones (maybe the reason that the data from today's MMOs supports my player types theory really is because they've been designed with it in mind, so it's a self-fulfilling prophecy?).

Caerleon is a village on the river Usk, and it has a lot of Roman remains. I would have looked around them if I'd had time, but I had a lecture at 1pm today and a 4-hour drive to get to it (which also explains why I didn't visit my brother, who lives a few miles further along the M4, or my elder daughter, who's at university a few miles less far). The "caer" prefix is apparently the Welsh for "Roman fort", a bit like "caster" and "chester" in England. Living near ColCHESTER, however, I'm allowed to be unimpressed by this, especially as Camulodunum was the Roman capital of Britain until Boudicca reduced it to three-inch layer of ash.

One thing they do have at Caerleon that's a bit different is an arts festival which involves carving large pieces of tree into characters from Arthurian myth (Arthurian because Geoffrey of Monmouth talks it up, not that he was in any way biased...). They have lots of these all over the place, because it's hard to do much with the entries from previous years other than display them. These two were in the grounds of The Priory:

This one was in someone's garden, I think. The arms are articulated, and it was carved by someone from the Czech republic:

I quite like these wooden people — they certainly give the place a bit of character.

We have wooden people in Colchester, too — they're all doing degrees in Accountancy at the University.

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Copyright © 2009 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).